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Dutch recruiter Randstad is planning to reduce headcount by 165 in Belgium, following tough trading conditions in the country, the staffing firm announced Wednesday afternoon. The firm has now entered into formal discussions with the works councils about a restructuring plan.
“The plan aims to create a more efficient and client-oriented organization. The organizational changes will only occur in management and support functions and involve 165 jobs,” Randstad said in a press statement.
“In the current challenging market circumstances, the new structure will help us to maintain our solid competitive position in the Belgian market.” The firm recently reported slowing business activities in Europe during the first quarter and EBITA was down by more than a fifth in Belgium.
The recruiter will not publish any more details on the financial effects of the restructuring plan until it has completed discussions with employee representatives.
Robert Veekman from the LBC union said that employees felt let down by the company. “Some had to learn through the media [about the restructuring plan],” he said. But he praised Randstad’s efforts to come up with a “social plan” regarding the job cuts. In Belgium, the recruiter employs around 1,957 staff. Unions are planning to discuss the restructuring plan in a general meeting on Thursday.
Randstad said that economic conditions have been tough since 2008 with the Belgian staffing market being “very unstable.” It said that a number of structural developments have also negatively impacted the use temporary agency workers in the country, including higher labour costs and competition arising from subcontracting and self-employment.
Last year, the world’s second-largest staffing firm announced restructuring plans in France where it has given management staff the option of “voluntary” departures. During the summer 2012, the firm also said it was going to shed jobs in the Netherlands and Germany.